The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

National Institute for Environmental Studies Senior Researcher Michio Fukushima

Scenario-based assessment of the potential effects of alternative dam construction schemes on freshwater fish diversity in the lower Mekong Basin

Research grant

Project Description

This research focuses on the effects of existing dams on freshwater fish and their environment in the lower Mekong Basin, an area known for its extremely high degree of biological diversity, and on the environmental risks presently by dams under planning. More concretely, we direct our attention to as many migratory fish as possible, gathering existing data on the Mekong Basin environment and its freshwater fish from a variety of related organizations for GIS (geographic information system) compilation. We also conduct onsite surveys in three lower-Mekong countries, sampling fish and chemically analyzing their otoliths (inner ear) to reveal migratory routes. We next evaluate the impact of existing dams and assess the ecological risk of those under planning by means of statistical modeling, with the results to be reflected within specific siting scenarios (e.g., relocating planned construction sites, identifying alternative sites, etc.).

Marine resources/foodPreservation of biodiversity and ecosystem
Grant year
FY2008 Research Grants
Grant term
3 years
April 2009 - March 2012
Grant amount
37,499,000 yen
Activity region
Mekong Basin, Indochina Peninsula (Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam)
Taking water and fish samples on Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

Overview of the Organization

Senior Researcher Michio Fukushima
Senior Researcher Michio Fukushima
Specialist field
Ecology of river systems; especially, assessment of human impacts on watershed environments by examining fresh-water fish ecology and habitat
Affiliated academic societies
The Ecological Society of Japan; Ichthyological Society of Japan; Ecology and Civil Engineering Society; American Fisheries Society
In May 1996 obtained a Ph.D. (fisheries) from the University of Alaska. In July 1996 became a Researcher at the Center for Regional Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies. In April 2001 became a Senior Researcher at the Biodiversity Conservation Research Project, National Institute for Environmental Studies. From April 2006 to present was a Senior Researcher at the Asian Environment Research Program, National Institute for Environmental Studies; also member of an IUCN·(International Union for Conservation of Nature) committee on seed preservation
WEB site
Collaborating researchers
Seiichi NOHARA, Section Chief, National Institute for Environmental Studies; Eric BARAN, Senior Researcher, WorldFish Center; Yumiko KURA, Program Manager, WorldFish Center; So Nam, Deputy Director, Inland Fisheries Development and Research Institute; Department of Fisheries; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF); Cambodia; Tuantong Jutagate, Ubon Ratchathani University (Thailand)
Research record
  • (1) Fukushima, M.; Iwadate, T.; Kaneko, M.; Yabuki, T.; Kameyama, S. (2005) Changes in the Fluvial Morphology of Hokkaido Rivers – Loss of Geodiversity due to Channelization, Global Environmental Research 10 (2): 135-144
  • (2) Fukushima, M. (2005) The dam-related decline of freshwater fish diversity : analyses of the data collected from Hokkaido during the last half century, Japanese Journal of Ecology 55: 349-357
  • (3) Fukushima, M.; Kameyama, S. (2006) The effects of damming on masu salmon and the Sakhalin taimen and the assessment of their conservation areas based on predictive habitat models. Ecology and Civil Engineering 8 (2): 233-244
  • (4) Fukushima, M., Kameyama, S., Kaneko, M., Nakao, K., and Steel E.A. (2007) Modelling the effects of dams on freshwater fish distributions in Hokkaido, Japan. Freshwater Biology 52: 1511-1524